Vijay Mallya declared ‘fugitive economic offender’, govt likely to seize his assets

Mumbai: On a plea of the Enforcement Directorate, absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya has been declared as a fugitive economic offender (FEO) by a special court in Mumbai on Saturday.

Mallya has become the first businessman to be declared EFO under the provisions of the new Fugitive Economic Offenders Act which came into existence in August 2018.t The law empowers the government to seize properties of individuals who flee the country to escape prosecution.

The ED had requested the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court that Mallya, who is currently in the UK, be declared a fugitive and his properties be confiscated and brought under the control of the Union government as per the provisions of the new FEO Act.

Special judge MS Azmi declared Mallya an FEO under Section 12 of the Act after hearing extensive arguments from the lawyer of Mallya and the ED counsel.

Mallya, accused of defaulting on loan repayments and money laundering, had left India in March 2016.

This is Mallya’s second setback in the last one month. In December, a UK court had allowed his extradition to India to face trial for fraud and money laundering.

Besides the extradition case, Mallya is also facing recovery action against his assets in the UK brought by 13 Indian banks and another mortgage recovery action by the UBS Bank against his house in central London.

(With agency inputs)